Know the Etymology: 212
Place Name of the Day: Wednesday, 09 May 2012


Parappaang-ka’ndal, Paraapa-mulla

பரப்பாங்கண்டல்,
பராப்பமுல்ல

Parappāṅkaṇṭal, Parāpa-mulla

Parappaan+ka'ndal
Paraapa+mulla


The mangrove of the flood plains
The flood-plains corner


Parappu (noun) Expanse, space, sea, bed (Tamil, DED 3949); River plain, expanse of water (Tamil, Changkam Diction; Ku’runthokai 100:1; Natti’nai 382:7; Pu’ranaanoo’ru 204:5); Parappu: (verb, from the root Para) To spread, diffuse, expand (Tamil, DED 3949); Parappu-nilam: Vacant land not classified or not coming under cultivation (Tamil inscriptional usage, 1086 CE, SII VII 1032); Paraappa: Place from which water has retired (Sinhala); Parappu, Parappaan: Flood plains in the dry zone that get inundated with rainwater or river water during the wet months and become plains with scanty vegetation for most part of the year (Eezham Tamil usage in the place names. Note the ‘An’ suffix peculiar to Eezham Tamil); Parappu is also a measure of land in the Jaffna dialect of Eezham Tamil
Ka’ndal Mangrove, Rhizophora mucronata, dichotomous mangrove, Kandelia rheedii, (Tamil, DED 1171); Thaazhai, Pandanas oderatissima (Tamil, Changkam Diction and Lexicons); Mu'l'li, (Tamil, Choodaama'ni lexicon); there are several species under this name, Hygrophila auriculata, Acanthus ilicifolius, Solanum indicum etc; Thaazhai, Mu'l'li, Neer-mu'l'li, a mangrove tree, Rhizophora candel (Winslow's Tamil Dictionary); Rhizophora candel (Malayalam); Pook-ka'ndal: a variety of Ka'ndal mangrove, bearing fragrant flowers (Winslow's Tamil Dictionary); Peayk-ka'ndal: A mangrove tree, Rhizophora mangle (Winslow's Tamil Dictionary); Kadol, Mahaa-kadol: Mangrove tree, Rhizophora mucronata (Sinhala, this mangrove in Tamil is called Chura-punnai); Ka’ndal: Marshland, seasonal marshland, marshland vegetation (Eezham Tamil, especially Mannaar dialect)
Mulla Corner, angle (Sinhala); Cognate of Moolai: Corner, angle (Tamil, DED 5044). See column on Viyaapaari-moolai, Hetti-mulla


The word Parappu as a noun in Tamil generally means an expanse, space, spread etc. In this sense, Parappu and a related word Paravai also mean the sea.

In the Jaffna dialect of Eezham Tamil, Parappu has an additional meaning, i.e., a measure of land, usually residential, habitable or cultivable. In the Chola inscriptions, vacant and unclassified land was called Parappu-nilam.

The Tamil verb root Para of Dravidian etymology (DED 3949) means to spread, diffuse, expand etc.

Right from its earliest usages found in the Changkam literature to present day usage examples such as Ve’l’lap-parappu (expanse of flood water), Ve’l’lam Paravuthal (sheet of floodwater spreading) etc., the word Parappu is also associated with expanse of water on land, whether floods, river or sea.

The word Parappu is often found used in the context of flood plains in the Eezham Tamil place names, especially in the Mannaar district.

The Mannaar district, which is largely a flat landscape in the arid zone, has a number of flood plains that are inundated during the brief rainy season and become a dry expanse with scanty vegetation or an expanse of mangrove during most part of the year.

In the usage such as Parappaan (Parappu-aan) in the place name, Parappaan-ka’ndal, note the addition of the singular masculine ‘An’ suffix to landscape, which is a common feature in Eezham Tamil place names. Note the other examples, Veddai > Vedduvaan (expanse), Kaddu > Kadduvan (bund) etc., that are discussed in the other columns.

Interestingly, the Sinhala vocabulary has a cognate Paraapa in its diction, which means a place from which water has retired. The Sinhala place name Paraapa-mulla is an example for the use of the word in the Sinhala place names. There is also a recently Sinhalicised place name Parapaan-mulla in the Chilaw (Chilaapam) district of Puththa’lam district.

Parappu in Changkam Tamil literature meaning flood plains or river basin from where water has receded:

“Aruvip parappin aivanam viththi…”

“அருவிப் பரப்பின் ஐவனம் வித்தி...” (குறுந்தொகை)

Cultivating paddy in the flood plains or basin of the river (Ku’runthokai 100:1)

Parappu meaning sheet of water in Changkam Tamil literature:

“Parappu neerth tha’n’nam thu’raivan…”

““பரப்பு நீர்த் தண்ணம் துறைவன்…” (நற்றிணை 382:7)

The man of the cool coastal tract of the expanse of water (Natti’nai 382:7)

* * *


Ka’ndal in Tamil is a word of Dravidian etymology (DED 1171), meaning a variety of mangrove (see table).

The cognate Kadol in Sinhala means a particular variety of mangrove.

In the Eezham Tamil usage of Mannaar district the word Ka’ndal also stands for a landscape where mangrove vegetation is found.

See column on Iththik-ka’ndal and Mu’l’liya-va’lai for further discussions on Ka’ndal and Ka’ndal vegetation.

Ka’ndal meaning mangrove or screw pines that grows along the seacoast and banks of rivers:

“Gne’ndu ka’ndal vear a’laich cheleeiyar…”

“ஞெண்டு கண்டல் வேர் அளைச் செலீஇயர்…” (குறுந்தொகை 117:2-3)

Crab goes into the burrow dug by the roots of the mangrove (Ku’runthokai 117:2-3)

Ka’ndal also meaning Mu’l’li, a thorny plant of several species, usually found in waterlogged or water-receded areas:

“O’l’liya ka’ndal mu’l’li…”

“ஒள்ளிய கண்டல் முள்ளி…” (சூடாமணி நிகண்டு 4:63)

The bright Ka’ndal means Mu’l’li (Choodaama’ni Lexicon 4:63)

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Parappaang-ka’ndal is a place in the Mannaar Town division of Mannaar district. Paraapa-mulla is a place in Mulatiyana division of Matara district

* * *


Some related place names:

Parappu meaning flood plains:

Parappan-mulla: The flood-plains corner; Chilaapam (Chilaw) division of Puththa’lam district

Parappuk-kadanthaan: The flood-plains pass; or the flood-plains to pass through; Maanthai West division, Mannaar district

Perum-parappu: The big flood plains; Naanaaddaan division, Mannaar district

Parappuk-kal: The rock at the flood plains; Maanthai East division, Mullaiththeevu district

Paravai-ve’li: The expanse of the flood plains; Musali division, Mannaar district

Paravip-paagnchaan: The locality where the river or floodwater spread and flow; Karaichchi division of Ki’linochchi district

Paranthan: The expanse, or the flood-plains expanse; Karaichchi division of Ki’linochchi district

Parantha-kaladdi: The rocky expanse; Pannaalai, Keerimalai; Jaffna district

Ve’l’lap-paravai: The expanse of flood plains; a place name in the locality of Kara’navaay, found mentioned in Vaipava Maalai. The expanse was converted into saltpans.

See columns on Iththik-ka’ndal and Hetti-mulla for place names related to the components, Ka’ndal and Mulla

First published: Wednesday, 09 May 2012, 06:11

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